5 Tips to Make the Most of a Face-to-Face Pitch

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As wonderful as technology is for helping PR pros disseminate information to audiences, sometimes you just need a real conversation with a – wait for it – human. Whether on the phone or in person, an actual conversation is usually far more productive than email. The Publicity Club is offering PR pros in Boston a unique chance to hone those pitching skills with reporters. Face-to-face. In person. Same room. No screens.

To help you prepare for the speed pitching event, the Pub Club board of directors compiled these five sure-fire tips for success:

  1. Research the reporters. Do all the background research you can before you get into the room so you can ensure this reporter is the right reporter, your content will be of interest, and your conversation has solid potential to strengthen your relationship.
  1. Practice your elevator pitch. Whether you rehearse with another person or record yourself, it is essential you work the kinks out before the real pitch happens. Let’s face it, you only have a short window of opportunity – don’t waste it with “uhs,” “ums,” and “you knows.”
  1. Keep it short. Decide what your three key points will be. We suggest something that explains what you are offering, why the audience will care, and what the audience can do about it. You don’t need to tell every detail to interest a reporter. “What’s in it for the audience” is one of the most important factors to convey.
  1. Prepare for questions. Think about the questions a reporter is likely to ask. Go beyond the 5-W’s. Be ready to answer the “why” questions or the difficult questions. Being able to convey your knowledge of the topic will help increase your credibility – if not for this story, but for other story pitches in the future.
  1. Be ready with supporting elements. Anticipate what other materials the reporter may need to further develop the story. Will it be photos, quotes, references, stats, research, infographics, or charts? Take inventory of what you have, and prepare what you may need so you can show a reporter the variety of storytelling options you can offer.

Don’t let the prospect of a live conversation intimidate you. Too often, we hide behind the screens because we think it will be more effective, or the task of preparing for a live pitch seems too daunting. Honestly, though, we should be putting in as much effort in our email pitches as we do our spoken ones.

So why not take the chance to hone your skills – exercise your live-pitching muscles. Come on out to the Pub Club’s consumer pitching event on November 19. The reporters who are coming want to be there, so make the most of this opportunity. Not only will it help you improve your skills, but as we saw from our first pitching event, it can result in coverage for your client. Learn more about the event and then share your success stories with us.

This post was contributed by Boston University’s Associate Professor & Director of PRLab Amy Shanler

Twitter: @amyshanler